Las Vegas attorney McLetchie named First Amendment Champion

Updated September 29, 2018 - 8:47 pm

When Maggie McLetchie was about 6 years old, her grandfather would engage her in conversation about the First Amendment.

Even as a child, she was enthralled with stories from a federal appeals court judge.

“I remember visiting him in his chambers and him talking to me about the Constitution,” she said.

When her grandfather, Hugh H. Bownes, died in 2003, The New York Times wrote that he was “best known for his opinions upholding free speech and individual rights.”

McLetchie, 46, has honored her grandfather’s legacy throughout her own legal career. As an attorney for the Las Vegas Review-Journal since 2012, she has fought to uncover the truth when government agencies sought to keep public records hidden, and she has aggressively defended the First Amendment rights of not just the press but all people in Nevada.

On Saturday, she received the Nevada Press Association’s First Amendment Champion award for 2018.

In announcing the award, the association said “no single Nevadan had more impact in the battle for open records and press freedoms last year.” McLetchie “won access to vital public information including autopsy reports, sexual harassment complaints, search warrant affidavits, 911 recordings, police body camera footage, courtroom evidence and dispatch logs.”

She successfully argued for records linked to a Clark County School District trustee accused of sexually harassing women, autopsy reports, human trafficking and prostitution records, and Oct. 1 shooting-related 911 recordings and officer body camera footage Las Vegas police wanted kept from the public.

“Much of the Review-Journal’s best work is directly attributable to Maggie’s success in court and the fear she puts in government entities that prefer secrecy over transparency,” said Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook, who nominated McLetchie for the honor. “I hope this award helps the public understand how valuable she is not just to journalism but to democracy itself.”

For McLetchie, ties to the newspaper business stretch back to her student days at Carleton College, where she worked as a reporter, news editor and managing editor for the Carletonian. She earned her law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating in 2002, before spending four years at Bingham LLP in California and representing Fortune 500 companies.

But she knew she wanted to do something more with her career. She thought back to those chats with her grandfather and his work protecting free speech and press freedoms.

She moved to Nevada in 2007 after accepting a job as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, where she earned support from groups ranging from the Gun Owners of Nevada to the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. Since she left the ACLU in 2011, her work in private practice has hardly been private.

She’s battled in court with the Clark County district attorney’s office, Las Vegas police, the city of Henderson, the school district and many other political heavyweights on behalf of the Review-Journal, The Associated Press and other news organizations.

“The media plays an incredibly important role in protecting our democracy,” McLetchie said. “They do reporting on local government and state government, which plays a really big role in people’s day-to-day lives. It’s important that we have media outlets and reporters able to do their jobs and get information about government accountability issues, like how their tax dollars are being spent and whether governments are doing the right thing.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

Local
Valentine's Day Brings Wet Weather To Las Vegas
Parts of the Las Vegas Valley received more than an inch of rain by 1 p.m. Thursday, triggering numerous vehicle accidents, sparking flooding and prompting at least two swift-water rescues in flood channels. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Artist sends love from the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Artist Chris O'Rourke has a giant heart mounted in the back of pickup positioned for photos at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas Strip on Valentine's Day 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain doesn't dampen weddings on Valentine's Day
Charolette Richards, owner of A Little White Wedding Chapel who has been performing weddings for 60 years, started Valentine’s Day 2019 by performing a wdding for Las Vegas couple David and Elaine Cook at the chapel’s Tunnel of Love drive-thru. Richards has over 100 weddings booked for Valentine’s Day. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Swift-water rescue in Las Vegas
The Clark County Fire Department rescued one person from the flooded Durango Wash in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rainy and soggy on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day across the Las Vegas Valley will be soggy and wet. A flood advisory has been issued for Clark County. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Early morning rainfall in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas valley was hit with rainfall early Thursday morning. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Learning how to create your own comic book
Jean Munson talks about the class she teaches at the Maximum Comics in Henderson on creating and publishing your own comic book.
Top Ladies of Distinction unveils second Las Vegas chapter
Officers Clair Hart and Rose Coker discuss the service organization’s work and mission.
The Animal Foundation Opens New Wing
On Tuesday, The Animal Foundation opened the doors to its new Engelstad Foundation Adoption center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas firefighter skates from ice to fire
Darcy Loewen, a former pro hockey player, finds a new career as a North Las Vegas firefighter. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carnival AirShip floats over Las Vegas
Carnival Cruise flew a blimp over the LAs Vegas Valley on Thursday in a promotion for its new Carnival Panorama ship. (Mat luschek/Review-Journal)
Pedestrian dies after crash at Decatur and Alta
Las Vegas police investigate a fatal crash that killed a pedestrian at Decatur Boulevard and Alta Driver about 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars Cosplayers Visit Sick Kids At Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
Members of Coruscant Base, a Star Wars cosplay group, visit kids at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Hail and wet snow in Las Vegas
The western edges of Las Vegas saw some hail and wet snow on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer Jim Rhodes lists his mansion for $30 million
Jim Rhodes, a developer, has listed his mansion in Spanish Hills community for $30 million. The mansion is situated on 2 acres of land and features 19,345 square feet of living space. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Court ruling brings hope to local Vietnam veteran
Blue Water Navy Veteran Michael Yates talks about possible medical benefits he could receive after a federal court ruling this week. Yates claims he was exposed to Agent Orange and attributes that to his health problems, which include cancer.
Las Vegas charter school excels in areas of greatest need
Mater Academy Mountain Vista charter school students excel despite the fact that half the students are English language learners and all qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in downtown Las Vegas
The 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, themed "Living the Dream: One People, One Nation, One Dream," took place in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New MLK freeway onramps
How to navigate the trio of new freeway onramps from Martin Luther King Boulevard. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Campus Village next to UNLV gets demolished
Demolition of Campus Village shopping center, on Maryland Parkway across from UNLV, begins to make way for new development.
Extreme weather closes Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon
High winds and flooding closed the Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area Thursday. Minor flooding across Highway 159 caused drivers to slow, but didn't close the road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists enjoy rain in downtown Las Vegas
Tourists break out the umbrellas. But Brian Herting of Lincoln, Nebraska, dons shorts and a T-shirt, as he makes his way through downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday. The National Weather Service.forecast called for a 50 percent chance of rain. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse video of fog covering the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is shrouded in fog Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Tony Spilotro's Las Vegas home for sale — VIDEO
The former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer, Tony Spilotro, is now for sale. Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film Casino, is the original owner of the home at 4675 Balfour Drive, built in 1974. (Samia DeCubas/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Drive And Mountains Edge Parkway Fatal
Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash in the southwest valley on Saturday afternoon. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Crime
Las Vegas police look for masked armed robbery suspect
Las Vegas police are looking for a masked man suspected of an armed robbery Feb. 14 in the west valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police officer found guilty of sexually abusing a child
Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was found guilty Wednesday of 28 counts, including sexual assault, lewdness with a child, child abuse and kidnapping.
Police, friends gather to bring attention to Celia Luna-Delgado's homicide case
Las Vegas police and loved ones of Celia Luna-Delgado, a homicide victim, gathered in an attempt to bring attention to the case. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nye County couple face 43 counts of allowing child abuse or neglect
The attorney for Marcel and Patricia Chappuis, operators of a private boarding school at the center of an ongoing abuse investigation, accused the Nye County Sheriff’s Office of harrassing and targeting the couple following a bail hearing Thursday morning.
Home security camera captures man stealing packages
Packages were stolen from outside a Las Vegas home on Feb. 7 and one of them contained chemotherapy drugs for a young cancer patient. (neighbors.ring.com)
North Las Vegas Police Release Info About 1986 Cold Case
North Las Vegas police released new details of a 1986 case involving 3-year-old Francillon Pierre. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
The creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team.
Several organizations and law enforcement agencies came together to announce the creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Addresses January 17th OIS (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman address members of the press regarding the officer involved shooting that took place on. January 31, 2019, in the vicinity of I-215 and Alta. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot, and is in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police address officer-involved shooting on Jan. 31 (Full)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman gave details on the officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 31, 2019, in Summerlin. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot and was in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Child Abuse Investigation At Northwest Academy
An investigation is currently underway by the Nye County Sheriff's Office at Northwest Academy for child abuse.
Lockdown ends at 2 Summerlin schools after Las Vegas police shooting
A man wanted on “violent felonies” was hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot by Las Vegas police Thursday morning during a standoff in a west valley neighborhood.
Krystal Whipple Appears In Court For The First Time
Krystal Whipple, who is charged in the death of a nail salon manager, appeared Thursday before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini, who scheduled a status hearing for April 1.
Metropd Addresses Ois From Jan 27 2019 (Short)
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police addresses officer-involved shooting
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Addresses Recent Ois (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department addresses recent officer involved shooting
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
OIS press briefing Badura Avenue
Las Vegas police investigated an officer-involved shooting in the south valley, the department announced Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media briefing on Antwon Perkins arrest
LVMPD sex crimes bureau Lt .David Valenta speaks to the media about the arrest of Antwon Perkins, the suspect in Thursday’s abduction and assault of a Cadwallader Middle School student who was walking to school. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye County Sheriff’s Office testing weapon mounted cameras
On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 the Nye County Sheriff’s Office announced the testing and evaluation of Weapon-Mounted Cameras (WMCs) from Viridian Weapon technologies at the Las Vegas Shot Show.
North Las Vegas OIS (Jan. 21)
North Las Vegas police provide information on an officer-involved shooting Monday night near Lake Mead and Fifth. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police Update on Fremont Street Shooting
Lt. Ray Spencer gives an update regarding a homicide investigation that occurred in front of a bus stop near Fremont Street and Casino Center, involving a security officer and another male.
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Alleged Las Vegas casino con man, who was on the run, appears in court
Mark Georgantas -- who entered a plea deal on a charge of stealing from people he met at Las Vegas casinos, but failed to show up for sentencing -- appearing in court after being captured in Utah. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Memorial service for Kwavon’tia Thomas
Timika Thomas sings during a memorial service for her son, Kwavon’tia Gregory Thomas, at Unity Baptist Church in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Kwavon’tia was shot and killed on Christmas Eve. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVMPD Looking For Blue Bucket Bandit - VIDEO
On December 31, 2018 detectives with the LVMPD Northwest Area Command Patrol Investigations Section received a report of the theft of a surveillance camera from the front porch of a residence located in the area of West Lake Mead Boulevard and North Rampart Boulevard. The victim in this case became aware of other residents in the neighborhood who had been the victim of similar crimes.
16-year-old boy fatally shot in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas police were investigating the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, marking the department’s first homicide investigation this year. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police searching for man in Christmas robbery
A man walked into a business about 2:35 a.m. Dec. 25 on the 5000 block of South Eastern Avenue, near East Tropicana Avenue, and “committed a robbery,” a police release said. Police wrote that a person followed him outside of the business, and the man pointed a gun at him. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Fatal shooting at Green Valley Ranch casino
Henderson Police Department Lt. Kirk Moore briefs the media on a fatal shooting at Green Valley Ranch casino in Henderson on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police release video of suspect in armed robbery
Las Vegas police released video Monday in an effort to identify a man they said robbed a convenience store clerk at gunpoint last week.
Buffalo Wild Wings Hit and Run
Here's the surveillance of the hit-and-run crash in front of BWW, in which a woman repeatedly crashed into a manager's vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot. She walks in, asks how long the wait is, then storms off after being told of the 10-minute wait time. Footage courtesy of manager Daniel Rees.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
3 Pahrump residents arrested on false imprisonment charges
James Thatcher, 28 of Pahrump, Chelsea Demille, 30 of Pahrump, and Sandra Wombles, 19 of Pahrump were all arrested after it was discovered that they were holding an adult female and male prisoners in their bedroom. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like